University Of Alberta Libraries

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About University Of Alberta Libraries

The University of Alberta Library is part of the institution’s library network.

At the University of Alberta campuses in Edmonton and on the University of Alberta Augustana Campus, there are ten branches and divisions of the University of Alberta Library.

As of September 2019, the Library’s collection included more than 5.4 million books and 8 million volumes, as well as 120,000 digital titles, 806 online databases, 140,000 academic e-journals, 1.92 million ebooks, and 67,000 newspaper issues. The Library has 20,000 photographs and maps in its collection, many of which are about the Canadian prairies.

The University of Alberta was established in 1908, although Rutherford Library did not start operations until 1951. The original librarian, Eugenie Archibald, faculty members, and the university’s founder, Alexander Cameron Rutherford, collaborated to choose the initial purchases to launch the university library in 1908.

Edgar Allan Poe’s collection, fourteen volumes of Washington Irving’s writings, as well as works by Walter Scott, Jean Froissart, Henry Fielding, Charles Lamb, George Eliot, Edward Gibbon, T. B. Macaulay, Robert Louis Stevenson, William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Victor Hugo, John Richard Green, Henry Hallam, Tobias Smollett, Rudyard Kipling, and John Stuart Mill are among the first 200 selections still kept in the University Archive The Library had collected more than 7,000 books by the end of 1911. The library had 32,500 books in its collection by 1928, when Tory stepped down as president.

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In the early years of the university’s existence, the library staff ran a modest facility in the Main Teaching Building, also known as the Arts Building, which by the 1930s was already crammed to capacity. Under the presidency of Robert Newton (1941–50), the institution was given the go-ahead by the provincial government to start building a library building in 1947. Rutherford Library was the university’s first brand-new permanent structure in 30 years when construction on it was finished.

Chief Librarians

Eugenie Archibald (1909–1911)
D. E. Cameron (1911–1945)
Marjorie Sherlock (1945–1955)
Bruce Braden Peel (1955–1982)
Peter Freeman (1982–1989)
Ernie Ingles (1989–2013)
Gerald Beasley (2013–2017)
Dale Askey (2018–)

Major Branches


The University of Alberta’s Augustana Campus library offers materials and services to help undergraduate students and academic staff.

Bibliothèque Saint-Jean

The University of Alberta Campus Saint-teaching Jean’s and research programs in education, the humanities and social sciences, languages and literature, health sciences, the natural sciences, and business administration are supported by Bibliothèque Saint-Jean.

Cameron Science & Technology Library

The engineering, science, and ALES faculties are highlighted in the collections of the Cameron Science & Technology Library (Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences). The Canadian Circumpolar Collection and the William C. Wonders Map Collection are also kept at the library.

Coutts Education and Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation Library (closed)

The Faculties of Education and Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation can use the services and resources that the Herbert T. Coutts Library offers. Due to funding shortages, the Coutts library will permanently close in June 2020.

Rutherford Humanities & Social Sciences Library

The Rutherford Humanities & Social Sciences Library is the largest library at the University of Alberta and the second largest research library in Canada.

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Scott Health Sciences Library

The Walter C. Mackenzie Health Sciences Centre houses the Health Sciences Library. In honor of the Dean of Medicine from 1948 to 1959, it was inaugurated in 1984.

Weir Law Library

The research collection in the Weir Library consists primarily of primary and secondary sources from common law Anglo-American countries, but it also includes some Quebecian French-language sources. The majority of the collection is composed of common law-related materials, but it also includes civil law materials from Quebec, Scotland, and Louisiana. Parliamentary and legislative documents as well as administrative rulings from both the federal and provincial levels are included in the library’s collection of Canadian government documents.

Winspear Business Library (closed)

The Winspear Business Library serves as the main information service library for the University of Alberta’s Alberta School of Business. Due to financial cuts, the Winspear Business Library was permanently closed as of May 1, 2020, as notified by the Chief Librarian in April 2020. Future Alberta School of Business students and faculty will have access to services and materials through the Library’s other sites.

Other Library Units

University of Alberta Archives

The Archives, which are housed in the brand-new Research & Collections Resource Facility on South Campus, contain 9,000 linear meters of permanently important records about the history of the University of Alberta, including institutional records and personal papers from alumni, employees, students, and other members of the university community. The Government of Canada has classified the Archives as a Class A Movable Cultural Property.

Bruce Peel Special Collections

More than 100,000 rare books and various archive items can be found in Bruce Peel Special Collections. The Government of Canada has classified the Collections as Class A Movable Cultural Property.

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Digital Scholarship Centre

On the university’s North Campus, on the second level of Cameron Library, lies the DSC, a new academic building that started operations in September 2019. A virtual reality lab, a sound booth, 3D printing and scanning, gaming-quality PCs, an Ideum touch table, a big, multi-touch visualization wall, and collaboration work spaces are all included in the 8,000 square foot center, which serves as a hub for digital scholarship on campus.

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